A native of Youngstown, Ohio, Dr. Gerald Lamont Thomas is the Pastor of the Shiloh Baptist Church in Plainfield, New Jersey. He was called to Shiloh in March 1997, becoming the eighth pastor at the church. He was licensed to preach by the Mt. Zion Missionary Baptist Church of Los Angeles, CA, under the pastorate of the late Dr. E. V. Hill and ordained by the Third Baptist Church of Youngstown, OH, Dr. Morris W. Lee, Sr. Pastor. He served as Pastor of the Pilgrim Baptist Church in Midway, KY (1985-88), the Burnett Avenue Baptist Church in Louisville, KY (1988-1993), and the Metropolitan Baptist Church in Philadelphia, PA (1993-1997).
Dr. Thomas earned both his Ph.D. and M.Div. from Southern Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky. He received a B.A. in Economics from Howard University in Washington, D.C. Dr. Thomas served on the faculty of Eastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wynnewood, Pennsylvania for 11 years, teaching courses in Preaching and Worship. He also served as an Adjunct Professor of Preaching for Lutheran Theological Seminary, Lancaster Theological Seminary and New Brunswick Theological Seminary in New Brunswick, NJ.
In March of 2005, the Shiloh Baptist Church Family held its first worship service in their new $13.2 million state of the art church edifice - a miracle achieved within two years and five months. The new church edifice provides seating for 1,200 people with two giant video screens which assists the worship service; a 700-seated Community Life & Cultural Arts Center; a state-of-the-art kitchen, media technology, gymnasium, administrative offices, classrooms, music room, a nurse's office, nursery, food and clothing pantry, and CCTV in house security system.
Dr. Thomas' leadership and vision for education and learning exist through SIBLE - Shiloh Institute for Biblical Learning and Education - which serves as the Christian Education Ministry of the Church. Also, the doors of The Union County TEAMS Charter School opened September 2005 to serve 300 students in grades K-12. The primary focus of the school is technology, engineering, architecture, math and science, which Dr. Thomas observed was necessary to increase minority participation in the construction trades during their project.
Thomas served as President of The New Jersey Convention of Progressive Baptist from 2006-2009. In 2008, he was appointed by the President of The Progressive National Baptist Convention, Inc. to Chair the newly formed task force, Social Action on Public Policy (SAPP). On April 4th of 2008, Dr. Thomas was inducted into the prestigious Martin Luther King, Jr. International Collegium of Scholars of Morehouse College in Atlanta, GA.
Dr. Thomas is the Founder, Chairman of the Board and President of Shiloh's faith-based, non-profit, community development corporation known as SHEELD - Shiloh Economic and Entrepreneurial Life-Long Development Corporation. He is the President and CEO of Thomas Partners, LLC, an international consulting firm for church management and business development. In addition, he serves on the Board of Directors for Global Trade and Technology Center based in New York City and is a consultant for People For the American Way: African American Minister's In Action, Washington, D.C. Thomas serves on the Justice and Advocacy Commission for the National Council of Churches USA and the Ministerial Liaison for the State of NJ Black Legislative Caucus.
Among his many contributions, Dr. Thomas authored an insightful book entitled: African American Preaching: The Contribution of Dr. Gardner C. Taylor. The book offers a rhetorical and historical study of African American preaching and highlights the life, ministry, and preaching methodology of Dr. Taylor, the premier dean of preaching and Pastor Emeritus of the Concord Baptist Church of Christ in Brooklyn, NY. Several seminaries across the country are using the work as a textbook for preaching. A scholar, anointed preacher, gifted teacher, visionary, author and administrator, Dr. Thomas has preached and lectured across the United States, Africa and the Caribbean.